I know you are knee deep into this year with competitions, recital rehearsals and just getting through another year. But now is the best time to start to plan what you will be doing next season! It may seem a bit early but by now you have had time to really look at what you are doing and what is working well and what can be done better. Why now you may be asking? Because you have the time to calmly look, adjust and change if needed. Start to take notes over this month on everything you do. Once you have compiled a list you can look to see where you are and what is needed to take you where you want to go. Below is a list we have created and that we review every year during the next four weeks

The yearly check up list!

1. Look at your facility. What needs to be done to make your studio sparkle? Painting, floors, cleaning, pictures, exterior cleaning and upgrades are just come of the things you will need to take a good look at. If you know now that you will need to spend a good amount of funds you can start to price things out and then secure the financing you will need. You may need an outsider to take a real good look and give you an honest appraisal.

2. Look at your marketing materials. Is it time for a makeover in your marketing message? I know that things change quickly. Make sure that your unique selling propositions are clearly made in your messages and that you differentiate yourself from your competitors by pointing out your strengths. It may be time to spruce up your schedule, website and brochures. Looking now will save you time and money later!

3. Look at your customers. Are they happy? Are you doing all you can to make their experience at your school a great one? In business we are always looking for new fish in the pond. But how about keeping the ones you have. Better yet have the ones you already have buy more from you! The best way, and most cost effective way. To build your school is to sell more to your current customers. Chances are that what happens over the next few months will have a BIG impact on whether or not they will sign up for next year and how many classes they will take. If you position it correctly it is an easy sell to have someone who is taking 1 or 2 classes to take 4 or 5 in the Fall! It is also a good time to identify who are the problem customers and to start to craft a plan on how to nicely get rid of them for good!

4. Look at your staff. If you have front desk staff how are they doing? Are you happy with how they answer the phone and do all of the various tasks that you have them do? Are they self motivated or do they need constant input from you to get things done? If you don't have a front desk manual now may be a good time to make one with the help of you front desk staff. I f you have one now is a good time to review what is in it and find out if it needs to be updated. I know ours does on a regular basis!

5. Look at your faculty. Are you happy with you team of teachers? If not, now is the time to meet with them to see if you can fix what is wrong. Remember that if you have a team member that is not pulling his or her weight or is causing you problems, start to find out how and when you can replace them for the new season. Don't keep bad apples around because you feel sorry for them or are worried that they will steal your students or bad mouth you. If you find that they are not working out for you make the move to find someone who will!

6. Look at your overall business plan. Ok you may not have a plan that is written, that will be something you can do over the summer but you do have ideas, aspirations and goals for your business. Are you headed in the right direction? If you are not growing the way you want to, try to really look hard at what you are doing and what changes need to be made. It may also be that you need an advisor who can give you honest advice on what may be lacking in your plan.

7. Look at yourself and what you are doing. Here is one of the tough ones. Self examination is never too much fun but needs to be done. We are all very integral parts of our businesses and your business is an extension of you! Stressed out and not happy about things? Don't expect for your business to be running smoothly if so. Take a step back and see what you can delegate to others and find ways to make sure you are getting out and spreading the word in your community about your school. After all, you will be the best ambassador for your studio. And we know that word of mouth, even if it comes out of your mouth, is the best form of advertising!

So there you have it! Start to make plans now to make the next season ahead your best one ever!